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La Charrette

South Gower Road,
Parkmill,
Swansea, SA3 2AH

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La Charrette

Now relocated to the Gower Heritage Centre, eight miles west of Swansea, in the district of Parkmill, La Charrette started out as a 23-seat venue situated in a back garden in the town of Gorseinon, near Swansea.

‘La Charrette’ (French for ‘The Carriage’) was built from a disused railway carriage by the late Gwyn Phillips, who fell in love with the silver screen while working in local cinemas as a teenager. He built La Charrette in his back garden and invited family and friends to screenings such as “Gone With The Wind” and “The Sound of Music”.

After his death in 1996, the cinema became unsafe by the irreparable decay of its wood-and-steel structure, and ‘La Charrette’ was originally expected to close in October 2007, after a screening of “Ocean’s Thirteen”, starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

However, a visit by film critic Mark Kermode for BBC2’s ‘The Culture Show’ resulted in the tiny venue being given a special send-off in February 2008. This consisted of a special premiere screening of the previously unseen Danny Boyle film “Alien Love Triangle”, starring Kenneth Branagh, Courteney Cox and Heather Graham. For the screening, Kenneth Branagh made a personal appearance, while the actresses recorded special messages.

To preserve this unique cinema, it was sliced into six pieces and transported to the Gower Heritage Centre. There, it was fully restored to its former glory as part of a restoration project funded by the Centre.

La Charrette is now available to hire for birthday parties, private and corporate events. It is also open every day to the public.

Contributed by David Simpson
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